WordPress website design courses and training

Creating a successful WordPress website involves considering various components to ensure a positive user experience, optimal functionality, and effective performance.

Here are the necessary components for a successful WordPress website, according to ChatGPT, with my repsonses:

1. Clear Purpose and Target Audience:

  • Clearly define the purpose of your website and identify your target audience. Understanding your goals and audience helps shape your content and design choices.
  • Comment: I think we all tend to be pretty focused on the fundamentals of our business when our website is being first set up. Identifying our target audience can be a bit more challenging. It can be useful to have a Marketing Consultant help with this process. I can recommend Lissa McPhillips of Dynamic Marketing in Wicklow.

2. Responsive Design:

  • Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has a responsive design. With the increasing use of mobile devices, responsive design is crucial for a positive user experience and SEO.
  • Comment: It would be criminal to pay for a new website and then find that it hasn’t been properly configured to appear correctly on mobile. The simplest way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to visit the finished website on your phone and navigate through all the pages / posts, to ensure they all look as they should.

3. User-friendly Navigation:

  • Create an intuitive and easy-to-navigate menu structure. Users should be able to find information quickly and without confusion.
  • Comment: It is up to your website designer to ensure this happens. If you have any more than, say, 6-8 pages, you should be using dropdown menus. If you can, provide easy navigation via the main menu(s) to EVERY page on your website. The footer is an extra area that can be utilised to show additional links, like Cookies, Privacy, Contact Details, etc. If you’re selling online, and have lots of product categories and individual products, consider using Mega Menus.

4. High-Quality Content:

  • Produce high-quality, valuable, and relevant content. Content is a key factor for engaging visitors, establishing authority, and improving SEO.
  • Comment: When you first create your website, there can be a level of complacency that you won’t need to change what you have done, or add more content, as time goes on. Unfortunately, if your main competitors online are changing and updating their content regularly, you have to do likewise to remain competitive! If you want to rank above them, you have to outdo them. Your content must also be engaging – by all means use AI, but tweak the content so that it’s relatively unique to you.

5. SEO Optimization:

  • Implement on-page SEO strategies, including keyword optimization, meta tags, clean URLs, and image optimization. This helps improve search engine visibility.
  • Comment: SEO is a mature business at this stage, and is multi-faceted. You really cannot afford to ignore any of the items listed above. My blog posts will be addressing each of these items in turn and our WordPress training courses contain all you need to know about optimizing your websites.

6. Fast Page Loading Speed:

  • Optimize your website for speed. Use caching plugins, optimize images, and choose a reliable hosting provider to ensure fast page loading times.
  • Comment: Your web design partner and the chosen hosting company will ensure the pages are served out quickly. If any of them are consistently slow to appear, make this known to the appropriate person and check that the speeds improve.

7. Secure Connection (SSL):

  • Implement SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to provide a secure connection. This is not only important for user trust but also for SEO, as Google considers it a ranking factor.
  • Comment: Your website MUST have an SSL certificate fitted – this is done at the hosting platform level. If not, or if the cert expires, and Google sees this, they will actively dissuade people from visiting your website. Just check that your website URL starts with the https://… format in the Address Bar.

8. Contact Information:

  • Clearly display contact information. This can include a contact form, email address, phone number, or a physical address, depending on your needs.
  • Comment: How many times have you gone to a website, just looking for a contact number or email address, and been unable to find any? It can be there, but buried on a page somewhere. WordPress gives you the option of putting contact details, and Social links, in the bar above the menu / main navigation area. The Footer is also a convenient area to list business name, address, phone and email details. And always have a Contact page with all the contact details, department contacts (if appropriate), an email form to capture enquiry details, a Google map to show your location, sat nav co-ordinates etc.

9. Clear Call-to-Action (CTA):

  • Include clear and compelling calls-to-action throughout your website. Guide visitors on what actions to take, whether it’s making a purchase, subscribing, or contacting you.
  • Comment: A good rule-of-thumb is to have clear calls-to-action on EVERY page. Consider what it is you want your website visitors to do at all stages of the website journey and give them text links, clickable buttons, etc to get them to the point of purchase or contact asap. Remember that you may only have a website visitor for 60 seconds, or less, so make it easy for them to make that buying decision.

10. Social Media Integration:

  • Integrate social media buttons and links to encourage social sharing and connect with your audience on other platforms.
  • Comment: WordPress provides lots of areas to show and integrate links to your social media platforms. Most businesses or organizations are more active on the latter than their websites. It is however, in my opinion, more important to push your social media visitors back on to the website, by putting links in your social media profiles and in the posts you write there. Every time you post on social media, try to find a reason to provide a link back to somewhere on your website. It can be a valuable (and free) source of traffic.

11. Email Opt-in Form:

  • If applicable, include an email opt-in form for building a subscriber list. Email marketing is a powerful tool for engaging and retaining your audience.
  • Comment: A programme like Mailchimp can be a very powerful tool in generating sales enquiries to your website.

12. Legal Pages:

  • Include necessary legal pages such as Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and Disclaimer. This helps build trust with visitors and ensures compliance with regulations.

13. Regular Backups:

  • Implement a reliable backup system to safeguard your website data. This is essential in case of data loss, security issues, or other unforeseen events.
  • Comment: This is normally a standard feature of the website hosting business and not something that you should have to be concerned about.

14. Security Measures:

  • Strengthen the security of your website by using strong passwords, keeping themes and plugins updated, and installing security plugins.
  • Comment: This is normally looked after by your web partner. WordPress automatically assigns strong, random 24-character passwords to all users. Admins should ALWAYS have 2FA (two factor authentication) in place. Get your web partner to fit a plugin like Wordfence, which does a regular scan of all the website content and will identify and flag up any vulnerabilities. The free version of Wordfence is adequate for most websites.

15. Analytics Integration:

  • Set up Google Analytics to track visitor behavior, monitor traffic, and gather insights for making data-driven decisions.
  • Comment: Google recently introduced Analytics version GA4 – make sure this is what your WordPress website is fitted with.

16. Optimized Images:

  • Optimize images for web usage to improve page loading times. Use appropriate file formats and compression techniques.
  • Comment: Use .JPG image file type wherever possible. .GIFs and .PNGs typically don’t optimize the file sizes and these file types can yield large file sizes. A good rule of thumb would be to restrict image files to a max of 200KB.

17. Scalability:

  • Design your website with scalability in mind. As your site grows, you should be able to easily add new content and features without major disruptions.
  • Comment: If you are selling online, this will most probably be the area where your website will grow in size. If so, it will be site navigation structure (i.e. menus) and Landing Pages that need to ensure that content is easily located by your website visitors. It is sometimes a useful exercise to get a friend or contact to audit your website – they can provide an independent view of how well the website is working.

18. Regular Maintenance:

  • Schedule regular maintenance tasks, such as updating plugins, themes, and WordPress core, to ensure the security and performance of your website.
  • Comment: Your web partner should be doing this, on a periodic basis. However, with a little training, you can get involved in this. It will help you get more familiar with how WordPress works and raise your general level of competence.

By incorporating these components into your WordPress website, you’ll be setting a strong foundation for success, providing a positive experience for your visitors, and achieving your website’s goals effectively.

Check out our Beginners and Advanced WordPress courses.